Complete Proteins and Where To Find Them

Don’t be fooled by the idea that adequate protein intake is only for those who strength train loads or so-called ‘meat heads’ at the gym. Our bodies NEED protein for tissue synthesis and repair, production of enzymes – which help us digest food and proteins help carry oxygen.

I was chatting with my sister the other day and she was asking and protein and what the actual point or use of it is, what is protein made of and where it is found she asked as she made her protein smoothie. I thought that maybe clarifying a little further what proteins are and why we need them can help you to remember how important they are in your diet.

Of the 20 amino acids within your body, 9 of them are classed as ‘essential’ meaning your body can not synthesize them itself and we need to obtain them from our diet. Complete proteins are those which contain all the essential amino acids. If you’re not familiar with much biology then, simply, think of amino acids as the building blocks or like letters of the alphabet that make up a word. The word being the protein.

Many meat protein sources are complete proteins such as chicken or beef. However, if you’re vegetarian (like me), vegan or simply want to take a meal without meat then it can be difficult to know what constitutes a complete protein. Here are some easy examples of food pairings and individual foods that are complete proteins.

Individual Foods:

  • Eggs
  • Chia Seeds – try sprinkling them on toast, adding to smoothies or topping salads with them.
  • Quorn – meat substitute
  • Chicken
  • Fish
  • Quinoa
  • Greek Yoghurt


  • Tofu with quinoa
  • Peanut butter and whole grain bread
  • Legumes and grains – such as chickpeas with quinoa or rice
  • Spinach with almonds in a salad

As well as food pairings, a variation in your diet is a great way to ensure you’re receiving all the amino acids, especially if you aim for a plant-based diet. I think it is great to intake as much protein as needed from natural foods however protein powders really come in handy so a protein smoothie is always a great, easy option. I’m a huge fan of Pulsin’s Pea Protein.

What do you think of this style of post? – Cecily x


Disclaimer: CECFIT is not a substitute for professional advice regarding nutrition!


3 thoughts on “Complete Proteins and Where To Find Them

  1. Found this super helpful!! Have started eating more of things like Chia Seeds, Quinoa and Eggs as a protein substitute for meat!


  2. A classic is dhal with rice – it’s no wonder the vegetarian population in India eat this so much – lentils and rice together make a complete protein. It’s irritating when people think you cannot get sufficient protein from a plant-based diet…where on Earth do they think cows get the protein from that makes the meat that humans eat? All protein originates from plants, which in turn makes it from nitrogen in the soil.

    Liked by 1 person

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